The year began with a good sized list of S.M.A.R.T. goals for both my own development and that of the horses I am working with. By mid-year it was becoming clear that I would be unlikely to either achieve or make progress on most. My exciting project that I had been rehabbing for a year wasn’t coming back into work anytime soon. I hadn’t been inside the white boards all year. My usually busy diary had blank spots for a variety of reasons. My self confidence was near rock bottom, my romantic relationship broken and my health felt precarious (thanks perimenopause!)
There is a moment in Brene Brown’s fabulous TED talk on The Power of Vulnerability where she says that her reflection on what she had learned led to a breakdown, though her therapist had called it an awakening. Neither description seem unreasonable to me.
I cannot exactly pinpoint the moment things started to change, but I believe it was at an intersection of actually accepting the suck and realising that I was focusing too much of my energies on the things I could not control and very little on that which I can. I was spending the day coaching riders to control the controllable and to release the rest but not practicing what I preach.
Self autonomy is not something that came overnight, nor is it perfect, but I do feel back at the helm. I’m back to spending my days doing a job I love, coaching riders new and old and riding some fabulous horses. I’ve been back out competing a little and am back doing clinics both nationally and abroad. I’m also starting a new psychology course which I hope will allow me to understand myself and my riders even more. It’s not where I thought I would be, but in many ways, it is better. I may even get around to another goal setting session…
It goes without saying that I didn’t get through alone. To my family, friends and clients who stood by me and supported me, I cannot thank you enough. I also owe a huge debt of gratitude to therapy with the best therapists in the world, horses.
If you find yourself stuck or struggling, please know you are not alone. The path you thought you were on may be blocked, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a wonderful one waiting for you around the bend. There is a huge amount of relief and clarity for time spent being present with a horses. And if you need an ear or a shoulder, you need only reach out. We’ve got this.